Source: Author Request
Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.
Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma.
Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up.
But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways.
When I was approached by author Stacy Kramer to review Karma Bites, the thing that first caught my attention was the comparison to Lizzy McGuire and Wizards of Waverly Place. As a fan of both shows, it sounded promising.
Honestly, if I had to describe this book in one word, it’d be fun. Franny has a big heart and genuinely wants to help, but the scheme’s she devises usually just end up blowing up in her face. It was the way that her high-jinks panned out that made Karma Bites such a sweet read. Yet even though the plot was more or less comedic, it’s still apparent while reading that there are deeper layers to the story. Franny’s grandmother, for example, has a great wealth of knowledge and, though sometimes fortune cookie-ish, is always there to throw in a wise proverb or remark. The blend of magic with karma (and other beliefs), all rolled into a hilarious junior high school setting made Karma Bites a cute, funny read with a great message at the center.
At times Franny’s school was a touch cliché, especially with the social order, but upon completing the book, I acknowledge that it was more or less necessary. The overdramatized cliques of the school lend themselves perfectly to Franny’s unfortunate friend situation.
Though slanted for middle grade, Karma Bites will definitely appeal to young adult readers. Throughout the entirety of the novel I had to remind myself over and over again that Franny was in fact only twelve. Yes, she is impulsive and prone to preteen delusions, but she gives off a definite teen vibe. From her thoughts to the problems she faces, she’s far beyond her twelve years. Similarly, those surrounding her also gave off a mature vibe. I mean, they’re reading Beowulf in seventh grade. Beowulf!
Despite my opinion that the book had a more YA feel, I would not change the aging of the characters whatsoever. Franny may have felt older than her supposed age, but it never became a bother. Kramer and Thomas wrote her character wonderfully. They balanced her maturity with the carefree daydreaming of a tween. Because of this, I know I could easily hand the book off to my eleven-year-old sister and be secure in the knowledge that she’d enjoy it just as much as I did. There’s a little something for everyone, ensuring that Karma Bites will appeal to a large audience, from preteens to adults.